Managing Up

I write a lot about managing people, managing your team. How to create workplaces that recruit, attract, retain and engage top talent.

And all of that is really important– it’s the core of what I do. 

But today I want to focus on something a little different. Managing up. Managing your boss. Or to put it another way, managing our relationships with and expectations of our manager.

When my clients come to see me about their relationship with their supervisor, we start with two clear objectives: understanding the role of a manager and asking for what you need. And so that’s what I am going to share with you today dear reader.

Understanding the role of the manager.
Your manager’s job is to be your manager. They need to set clear expectations, define what success looks like and then ensure you have the tools you need to get there. They need to be able to give you feedback- both when things are going well and when things are not. 
And that’s it. Anything else is icing. You may want your manager to be your mentor, your friend, and it’s great when that happens. But being a mentor is very different from being a manager and often for one reason or another your manager can’t be both.
So, get 
really clear. What would it look like if your expectations of your manager were simply that they defined what success in your role looked like, gave you the tools you needed, and gave feedback? Without expecting the extra. What would be possible in your relationship from that place?

Asking for what you need.
Your manager can’t read your mind. Remember how I said that it’s your manager’s job to provide the tools you need to do your job? Sometimes that will be really clear, and they will be able to provide that. And sometimes they will need you to tell them what you need because they just don’t know.
So, have you set up the space in your relationship with your manager where you can ask for what you need? Do you meet with them one-on-one on a regular basis? If not, how can you and your manager work together to create that space? Maybe in your first act of asking for what you need, you ask for regular meetings.

A little disclaimer: the vast majority of people and managers have the best of intentions for their workplace relationships. And there is a tiny minority who don’t. But that’s a whole other post.  

So, think about your relationship with your manager. Would it be helpful to adjust your expectations of them? And how can you create the space to ask for what you need. 

And if you need some help, reach out! That’s what I am here for.

Until next week,
H